Travel

Contending with cars, at the polls and on vacation

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STREET FIGHT San Francisco's politics of mobility devolved into a cesspit this summer. Beginning with Mayor Ed Lee's retreat on Sunday parking meters, purportedly to garner support for his transportation bond and vehicle license fee proposals, Lee's bait and switch ultimately backfired.

Rather than nudge the city's transit finance debate in a sensible, progressive direction, confusion and duplicity by the mayor and some supervisors over parking policy has instead empowered a Tea Party-like faction that's placed a backwards initiative on the November ballot.Read more »

Healdsburg hop

TABLEHOPPING Fill ’er up -- we’re taking a long (but worthy) journey to this Sonoma hotspot.

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culture@sfbg.com

TABLEHOPPING Not only is the Healdsburg area so damn beautiful (I'm talking about you, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys) but there are some pretty fab dining and drinking options — and deals in the winter off season. There's always something new happening up there, so let's start planning your next overnighter.Read more »

The Performant: Surrender to Dorothy

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San Francisco’s invasion of Canada has begun

On my first day in Alberta, Canada I am greeted by gracious Edmontonians bearing platters of smoked meats, a local tradition perhaps, and upon joining my reconnaissance troop, the small but mighty Naked Empire Bouffon Company, who I’m stage-managing for their one-month Fringe Festival tour, we head down to the 32nd Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival headquarters to discover what we can about the territory. The Edmonton Fringe is the second largest in the world after Edinburgh (the original), attracting over a half-million people to the festival site, and hosting over 200 performing companies over the course of 11 days. Mixed in with the vast throng of performers from around the world, a small regiment of infiltrators from the Bay Area have scattered themselves throughout the festival grounds and venues, a quiet invasion of quirky monologists and seasoned storytellers.

And Naked Empire of course, whose confrontational buffooning offers an entirely different definition of Fringe theatre. Read more »

New Zealand's Cup

America's Cup, seen by many here as a billionaire's boat race, looks very different Down Under, with its culture of sailing and maritime innovation

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news@sfbg.com

A few weeks ago I was walking down the dock in the marina where I live, in Wellington, New Zealand, when I passed a woman and a young boy. I'd never seen them before, which is uncommon here in this municipal marina — about 100 boats — in a small suburb of the country's capital.

The boy was walking from berth to berth pointing out certain rig and hull features and expounding on them as only a future aficionado can. "Lots of different boats, huh?" I asked as I passed.

"Different than America," he confirmed in an accent the same as mine.Read more »

What's hot in Siberia

'Hamlet, 'Hey, Slavs!' and other high points along the trail of a Russian theater excursion

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Emerald green rooftops and gold domes enliven the skyline of Omsk, a provincial city and former Soviet industrial hub of roughly one million people, located at the intersection of two Siberian rivers: the wide, island-populated Irtysh and the smaller, swifter Om. The latter gave its name to the town, which grew from a fort established at the meeting point of the rivers in 1716, back when this was the disputed frontier of the expanding Russian empire.Read more »

Stretch out

Summer yoga retreats and festivals offer escape for body, mind

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culture@sfbg.com

On the Om Front The days are getting longer. The college kids who live next door are throwing parties seven nights a week instead of the usual four. Your dog is asking to be walked so early in the morning that you're not certain you've ever actually gone to sleep. It's summertime! And it's the perfect time to get out of town for a few days, and do what yogis (and defeated armies) do best: retreat.Read more »

The Blob eats Quebec

More than just poutine (but that, too): Surprising flavors enliven a brief tour through one of Canada's culinary capitals

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culture@sfbg.com

THE BLOB If you thought the first thing you'd see when you landed in Quebec City, Canada, was a mime in a black mock turtleneck playing "My Heart Will Go On" on an accordion, you'd be almost right. Almost, because the Blob promptly devoured him — chewy! — and went on to enjoy a brief culinary tour of one of the most charming, clean, and friendly cities she's visited.Read more »

Woods for you: Best redwood parks for family times, wowwing out-of-towners, quiet reflection

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You have no reason not to explore California's freakishly gorgeous lands now. The treehuggers over at the Redwoods League (who have purchased more than 190,000 acres of the trees for conservation since the group's inception in 1918) have released their first-ever parent's guide to the behemoth old-growth beauties. This means day trips sensibly arranged and explained so that even the couch-bound and fresh air-phobic can figure out which woodses are best for them. Which redwood park operates a nursery? A science center? All in the guide, available for the price of your email address.

To aide you even further, Redwoods League director of outreach Jennifer Benito gave us her top picks for redwoods to take the parentals to, the most impressive stands to wow your out-of-towner babes, etc. Click through for the League's detailed info on visitor centers, trails, and hidden treasures in each of the parks on her list. Read more »

Sabor de Oaxaca

Tasting our way through Southern Mexico's cultural and culinary capital

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marke@sfbg.com

WORLD EATS The first thing you probably need to know about the magical Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca is that sensory overload is always on the menu.Read more »

Festival of festivals

Some highlights from New York's APAP-pourri

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The chill air had no snow in it. Instead, a particularly nasty outbreak of influenza whipped through the city, leaving a fine coating of mucus on the ground. Still, New York City looked beautiful as the various performing arts festivals that cluster around the annual meeting of APAP (the Association of Performing Arts Presenters) all revved up for a fat two weeks of shows this January.Read more »